After a week of sub-zero arctic outflow temperatures in Metro Vancouver, people have now been spotted skating on frozen ponds and lakes.
But not all ice surfaces are the same. The Vancouver Park Board is warning everyone to not go on the ice or let their pet go on the ice at any body of water within the city, including Trout Lake, Lost Lagoon, and Jericho ponds.
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The City of Coquitlam has issued a bulletin asking the public to stay off the ice, as the ice stability can be “very deceptive, with conditions impacted by shade from trees, water turbidity, and currents.” This includes banning skating on Como Lake and Lafarge Lake.
Similar warnings have been issued by the City of Port Coquitlam, which states “it’s hard to determine how thick the ice actually is. The ice thickness could also be uneven with some areas being thinner than others.” Port Coquitlam indicates it has posted signs at Blackburn Lagoon and Settlers Park reminding the public to keep off the ice.
But the warnings have not stopped some people from skating at the pond at Vanier Park/Hadden Park in Kitsilano, where a full-on hockey game was spotted yesterday.
The Park Board says some of the outer edges of the lakes and ponds within its jurisdiction may be thick enough, but it is not safe to be on the ice at all.
Pretty stunning scene near Hadden Park. A rare outdoor hockey tournament in Vancouver. Made me feel Canadian again. pic.twitter.com/WiACS8WlOK
— Brandon Michael Santo (@Seagullsanto101) December 30, 2021
Lots of activity on Como Lake today! Way more than yesterday, likely since warmer. City has put up signs that everyone is ignoring. Been so cold can see it is a problem. pic.twitter.com/UZmuaOIiQU
— Brent Ward (@GeoBrentatlarge) December 30, 2021
A rare opportunity to walk out on the local Como Lake with my daughter & dog, Stella. pic.twitter.com/jmVwke1d4X
— Larry Ryan (@laryan70) December 30, 2021
Ponds and lakes in Metro Vancouver’s urban areas rarely see ice buildup to a thickness that can support any weight.
The Park Board previously stated a minimum ice thickness of five inches is required for a safe skating surface. The last time that happened was in January 2017, when Vancouverites enjoyed 10 days of outdoor skating on Trout Lake — the first time that happened in 20 years at the time. Based on daily drills to determine ice conditions, the ice reached a maximum thickness of eight inches.
In 2017, Trout Lake was open for safe skating from January 5 to 16, with the exception of a short two-day closure from January 9 to 10 when temperatures warmed up briefly.
However, ice surfaces on higher elevations could be safer for skating at this time, such as at Rice Lake in North Vancouver District, where dozens of people have been spotted skating earlier this week.
Ice conditions are likely to deteriorate over the coming days from the start of a warming trend.
According to Environment Canada, temperatures on Friday will reach a daytime high of -3°C and a low of -7°C, with more snowfall starting Thursday night and throughout Saturday. Temperatures will hover at the freezing mark on Saturday, before warming to a daytime high of 5°C with rainfall on Sunday. Early next week, daytime temperatures will just above the freezing mark, with a continued possibility of snowfall.
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— Michelle Valancius (@howyougo) December 27, 2021
Loved seeing everyone skating on a frozen Como Lake! pic.twitter.com/4Aq09IIWMn
— Chelsea. (@CourtneyChels) December 29, 2021
— Andie.B (@AndreaBuono6) December 29, 2021
This is Como lake in central Coquitlam. Not often it freezes hard enough to safely go out on. Took a video as well. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/OZ2qZg0WYf
— Brent Ward (@GeoBrentatlarge) December 29, 2021
Wow. 2021 just keeps getting weirder. Como Lake in #Coquitlam had lots of people walking or playing hockey ON it. Rare in #MetroVancouver. I saw one spot on the east shoreline not completely frozen. 😳 And no I did not venture onto it. pic.twitter.com/aPajrpvB7r
— Fiona Burrows (@fburrows) December 29, 2021
Playing hockey on a frozen lake is what it’s all about. 🏒
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) December 30, 2021